Another beautiful wedding to bring you today, this time from the beautiful Oceano Hotel, located in Half Moon Bay, California. This wedding venue is actually situated on the Pillar Point Harbor, about 5 miles north of the coastal city, Half Moon Bay.
It’s a Bay Area seaside venue, that boasts picturesque views overlooking the bay, and elegant event spaces both indoors and outdoors.
Located 25 miles south of San Francisco, 50 miles north of Santa Cruz and 45 miles north west of San Jose, it’s a really sensible, stunning and versatile choice for your San Francisco peninsula wedding.
About the wedding couple
I met Rosario and Nestor by video call shortly before the big day. Rosario’s daughter Nadi was also on the call, acting as translator and being an all-around very helpful daughter, visiting from the United Arab Emirates where she works.
She filled me in on the couple’s plans, finally being able to go ahead with the wedding they had been dreaming of for years. It was a second marriage for both of them, but had taken an unexpectedly long time for both of them to finally be free to wed.
So, all this is to say that when the day came around, this was really a day to celebrate.
Personally for me as a wedding photographer (and a wife), I understand just how much has to happen in a couple’s personal story just for this day to happen. Photographing it is not an honor I take lightly. Every couple is different and there’s no such thing as the typical love story.
What else stands out about the Daly City couple? Well, they just happen to co-own the Peruvian eatery located at the Oceano Hotel! Even despite the pandemic, business has been booming with the addition of their food truck outside the hotel.
I particularly love working with fellow small business owners.
Order of events at Oceano Hotel wedding
We began the coverage at 11am – perfectly timed to coincide with the end of the getting ready portion of the day. That’s right, you don’t need coverage of the entire time the make-up artist is present, merely the tail end of it when a few touch-ups are being done.
I spent some time with Rosario during the ‘getting ready’ time. During this time of the day, it’s the perfect time for the make-up shots, as well as candids and the so-called ‘details’. Details are simply all the lovely little items that you are wearing and that form a part of your day.
I’ll be honest – not many of my couples prioritize tons of photos of the ‘stuff’, preferring to focus more on people and moments. If you do want plenty of styled details photographs, a word of advice – expect this to take your photographer an hour to get through. Flatlays are VERY time-consuming, even with a photographer that does them all the time.
A few quick details later, we were getting some sweet shots of Rosario’s moments with her daughter Nadi. I love the shots where they’re holding hands. So much emotion is held in the hands. I headed over to Nestor’s room, where he had just finished getting ready. He was with his daughter Jennifer and her husband.
We held the first look in the beautiful, light-filled foyer of the Oceano Hotel. Shortly after we had a very short drive a few hundred yards down the road where Nadi had spotted a sweet little area overlooking the harbor.
Even with the relatively harsh overhead sun, I managed to make it work – let me know what you think in the comments!
There was a beautiful half-hour ceremony, conducted in Spanish and officiated by Rosario’s young niece. She did such an amazing job!
After that was done, and the couple had officially tied the knot (#YAY) we moved into cocktail hour where the drinks flowed and delicious appetizers were devoured. This is a great time of day for candid shots of the guests as well as as many ‘grip and grins’ as you can throw at me : )
Rosario and Nestor made a confident grand entrance (they danced in, no less!) which definitely set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Much dancing ensued! Dancing is SUCH a big part of the cultures of these two. Rosario is from Peru and Nestor is from Columbia, so the pandemic wasn’t going to stop these two and their guests from enjoying some dancing, safely of course.
I LOVED it when the couple and their guests got their little flags out from either Peru or Colombia! Nestor even had a traditional Columbian outfit with him, which was pretty cool.
I ended my photography coverage at 7pm which was plenty of time to capture events such as toasts, first dance, the meal service and cake-cutting. All in all, an unrushed day which allowed time for everything to progress at a natural pace.
Happy guests, happy couple and definitely one happy photographer!
Unique features of the Oceano Hotel
During the uncertain times we’re living in now, the Oceano Hotel continues to provide excellent service to cater to whatever is safest and most preferable to the marrying couple. They have SO much space, yet it isn’t overwhelming. It works so well for small weddings such as this one, as well as for larger affairs (250-300!) when those are permitted again.
The outdoor area that you see in these photos is known as the Wedding Garden. It’s large enough for 300 people and overlooks the harbor. This seaside garden venue offers romance, drama and a high-end feel. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it! The area is lined by Italian cypress trees and ornamental bushes. And that ceremony arbor looks incredible when decorated with even the simplest floral arrangement. Love these coastal vibes!
Then there’s the light-filled indoor area known as the Gate House. This rustic event space is reminiscent of a coastal barn with dark wooden beams, wrought-iron chandeliers, and hardwood floor. Glass French doors open onto a scenic white patio and the room’s centerpiece is the stone fireplace.
The Gate House is, let me be real with you guys, a photographer’s dream. Why? The LIGHT! It was light streaming in and also WHITE walls. This means you’ll get much truer colors in your wedding photos.
When walls have a color or are brown wood, these colors end up creating a color cast on the subjects. Even when they’re edited, it will never be as ‘clean’ as the natural light + white walls combo.
Not pictured here is the Grand Ballroom, which, together with the atrium measure in at 4,400 square feet. That area has gold chandeliers and and elegant glass ceiling, and like the other spaces here, accommodates 250 guests.
For much more intimate weddings, there are the Montara and Mirada rooms. The capacity of those rooms is 100 and 50 respectively.
One of the benefits of tying the knot at a hotel like the Oceano is that you don’t have to worry for a second about putting your guests up (or transporting them at the end of the night!). The Oceano Hotel has an incredible 95 well-appointed rooms, overlooking the Pacific.
Let’s check this out!
Photography Zoe of Zoe Larkin Photography
HMUA Beauty By Pace
Florals Flora and Fauna
Dress David’s Bridal The bride and her daughter extend special thanks to Lottie Carey
Cake Studio Cake Design
To wrap up
I’ve waxed lyrical enough about this beautiful venue and couple. It was the perfect choice for this couple’s wedding. It suited their vibe perfectly – relaxed and coastal but with an elegant and refined feel.
And not to mention that they are in the Oceano every day with their restaurant business and are friends with the owner. Sometimes, it’s who you know ; )
If you’re in need of a photographer once you book your wedding at the Oceano Hotel in Half Moon bay, you can learn more about my services at the links below.
Why not save one of my pin graphics to Pinterest so you can get in touch when you’re ready to book! And give me a follow on Instagram (@zoe.larkin) so you can keep up to date that way.
Hoping I’ll be back at the Oceano Hotel soon, shooting your lovely wedding!